Military Members Return Home to Surprises

Posted at 12:14 AM, Jun 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-22 00:37:48-04

soldier arrivingGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 21, 2014) – They’re serving the same country, in two different branches of the military.

On Saturday, they both returned home to west Michigan.

FOX 17’s cameras were rolling as U.S. Marine Brock Farrington and U.S. Army Spec. Mitchell Oliver came through the gate at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Their arrivals came with a couple of surprises.

Mitchell’s mother, Deann, was at the airport waiting to welcome home other service members.

She wasn’t expecting her son until Monday.

That little turkey,” said Oliver. “He finally got me. He’s done it once before, where he came home a few hours early and surprised me. I always knew that somewhere down the road he was gonna try to pull it off.”

Deann had entered a radio contest, to ‘Fly a Soldier Home.’

She had no idea that her son had won.

“I was getting calls from this number I did not recognize because I was in Kentucky,” said U.S. Army Spec. Mitchell Oliver. “I was like, ‘I don’t know this number; I’m just gonna decline it every time.’”

After three weeks of calls, and a text message, Spec. Oliver finally responded.welcoming soldier

While it was difficult to keep his early arrival from his mom, he knew the surprise would be worth it.

“I knew she was kinda bummed about it,” said Spec. Oliver. “I came here before with the Patriot Guard and the Blue Star Mother’s group, as well, and Welcome Home Soldiers. I knew that every time she saw another soldier, she’s like, ‘I wish that was mine.’ To give that feeling back to her was more than i could ask for.”

While U.S. Marine Brock Farrington also received a hero’s welcome, he was coming home under different circumstances.

FOX 17 first introduced you to the Farrington family earlier this month.

Brock’s tour of duty in the Middle East was extended, after his family had booked his flight home.

When the Farringtons tried to change his flight, Spirit Airlines told them they were out of luck.

“We didn’t even care about the money,” said Melanie Farrington, Brock’s mom. “We just said he can’t come home now, he’s doing things for his country and the military. More or less, [Spirit] told me, well, the military cost your son money.”

But Brock made it back in the arms of his mother and father.

“It seemed kinda unreal,” said U.S. Marine Brock Farrington. “I definitely appreciate everybody here. I appreciate Southwest [Airlines] for what they did. I appreciate Tara Hernandez and her husband for doing everything they did.”

Brock’s father, Sam, says the show of support at the airport makes him feel great.

“These soldiers get the support that they should get when they come home,” said Farrington.